Illegal intimidation?


From Reuters:

(Reuters) – U.S. Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee said on Wednesday he has been “assured” that if workers at the Volkswagen AG plant in his hometown of Chattanooga reject United Auto Worker representation, the company will reward the plant with a new product to build.

Corker’s bombshell, which runs counter to public statements by Volkswagen, was dropped on the first of a three-day secret ballot election of blue-collar workers at the Chattanooga plant whether to allow the UAW to represent them.

Corker has long been an opponent of the union which he says hurts economic and job growth in Tennessee, a charge that UAW officials say is untrue.

“I’ve had conversations today and based on those am assured that should the workers vote against the UAW, Volkswagen will announce in the coming weeks that it will manufacture its new mid-size SUV here in Chattanooga,” said Corker, without saying with whom he had the conversations.

I may not be a legal expert, but that reeks of intimidation to me.  How and/or why a sitting Senator would go on record saying such a thing begs a lot of questions.  If he’s correct, then VW has been blowing smoke up the collective asses of their workers in Chattanooga because their public position has been in favor of having a works council in that plant.  If their position hasn’t changed, then Sen. Corker is lying his ass off in an apparent attempt to sway the vote. 

I wonder if Rep. Issa will convene a hearing to investigate this intimidation.  Since it doesn’t involve Obama, I seriously doubt he’ll have anything to say about it, much less the US media.


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3 thoughts on “Illegal intimidation?

  1. One thing’s for damn sure; somebody is lying. My guess, and it’s just a guess, is that Corker is toting water for business people who don’t want unions to get a foothold in Tennessee. The percentage of the workforce that belongs to a union, in Tennessee, is 6.1% (14 states are lower), according to several things I found. The figure is 4.8% in Chattanooga and only 1.5% among the private sector there.

    I think the following article sheds some light on where the rub is:

    According to the article, in 2013, union membership remained flat nationwide but was up 22% in Georgia and Alabama and 25% in Tennessee (the fastest growth in the country).

    Corker, and whomever is pulling his string, is likely trying to pull a Barney Fife and nip this in the bud. It’ll be really interesting to see what VW has to say about this.

    Disclaimer When I was in the car business, VW was one of the lines at one of the dealerships I worked at. At that time, they didn’t have cars that anybody wanted to buy but I have to say, that of all the manufacturers I ever worked under (foreign & domestic), VW had the best corporate structure hands down. Everything was systematic and ran like clock work. If you had a problem, you contacted VW of America (which is actually separate from the parent company), told them your problem or complaint and within a day (often immediately), you had an answer, yea or nay, and that was the end of it. Some companies, it was like pulling teeth to get anybody to commit to anything that they might be held accountable for, later.

    Might want to look at this one, too.


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